Collagen Vascular Disease: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Collagen vascular disease

“Collagen vascular disease” is the name of a group of diseases that affect your connective tissue. Collagen is a protein-based connective tissue that forms a support system for your skin. Connective tissue holds bones, ligaments, and muscles together. Collagen vascular disease is sometimes also called connective tissue disease. Collagen vascular diseases can be heritable (inherited from one’s parents) or autoimmune (resulting from activity of the body’s immune system against itself). This article deals with autoimmune forms of collagen vascular diseases.

Some disorders classified as collagen vascular disease affect your joints, skin, blood vessels, or other vital organs. Symptoms vary according to the specific disease.

Types of autoimmune collagen vascular disease include:

  • lupus
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • scleroderma
  • temporal arteritis

Types of hereditary collagen disease include:

  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Marfan’s syndrome
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), or brittle bone disease
Causes of collagen vascular disease

Collagen vascular disease is an autoimmune disease. This means that your immune system mistakenly attacks your body’s healthy tissue. No one knows what causes your immune system to do this. The attacks usually cause inflammation. If you have a collagen vascular disease, your immune system causes inflammation in your collagen and nearby joints.

Several collagen vascular diseases, including lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis, are more common in women than in men. This group of diseases usually affects adults in their 30s and 40s. Children younger than 15 can be diagnosed with lupus, but it mainly affects people older than 15.